As construction law attorneys, it never surprises us when we hear about disputes between homeowners and contractors. Homeowners who are excited about a long anticipated remodel, unfortunately sometimes end up with a nightmare project. At May Potenza, we’ve represented both homeowners and contractors in difficult construction law disputes which could have been avoid. A little planning can reduce your risk of conflict with your contractor. Here are a few questions you should ask before hiring a contractor:
Would you please itemize your bid?
Contractors may give you a single price to complete a project. Insist upon an itemized quote. This quote should include detailed line items, where applicable, for material, labor, supervision, profit and taxes. This information will prove useful as you proceed through the project and must address the seemingly inevitable changes in the scope of the project. It may also prove useful as you consider bids from multiple contractors.
Is your bid an estimate or a firm price?
It’s easy to get an estimate. While it’s nice to have an idea of how much your construction will cost, an estimate is not binding. Request a binding proposal instead of an estimate. If a contractor says it can’t give you fixed bid due to potentially unforeseen issues, then address and attempt to reduce or eliminate open questions. If you can’t resolve the unknowns in advance, have the contractor describe in detail the scope of work covered by the bid. If additional work is needed, you can negotiate a change order — a written mini-contract for new work.
How long have you been in business?
Ask for and check references. You should also inspect the contractor’s past work and history with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors. The time you spend doing due diligence will be time very well spent.
Can I get that in writing?
Of course, you should always get your contract in writing. The contract should list details and the scope of work. Include a timeline from start to finish.
These questions are just a few examples of what you should ask when planning to hire a contractor. There are certainly others that will pertain to your particular situation. If you are thinking about hiring a contractor and need some legal advice, contact a construction law attorney at May Potenza, Baran & Gillespie.
When you enlist the services of MPBG, you get an experienced, diverse team of advocates in your corner who work collaboratively, move quickly, and think differently.